Performance reviews and appraisals play the most significant role in the life of working professionals by putting them on a right career trajectory. A positive review and good appraisal is exhilarating whereas a negative one can hit hard on your self-esteem. It is easy to lose patience to criticism but a right attitude and a little grip on emotions can give a major thrust to your professional reputation. Dealing with constructive criticism at work is an art that every employee must learn. After all, your response to negative feedback determines what kind of a professional you end up becoming in the long run.
Don’t take it personally
The key to dealing with a bad review is not to take it personally. Prepare yourself mentally for the worst possible scenario before entering into the review cabin. Employees often take bad reviews personally and feel miserable which further affects their performance graph. It is important to understand that bad review is not the end of a career but an opportunity to recognise your blind spots and improve. Employees should learn to move ahead by taking a bad phase in their stride.
Control your emotions
Criticism often evokes extreme emotions in humans. Therefore, keeping a check on emotions is of utmost importance in such situations. Resorting to extreme emotions like anger will only make you look unprofessional and will narrow down your chances of rebuilding a good relationship with the boss. Being defensive or aggressive are the wrong ways to deal with a performance feedback. No matter how bad you are feeling and how furious you are from inside, it should not get reflected through your facial expressions or body language.
Accept your mistakes
If negative feedback is being heaped upon you during the performance evaluation, do not start defending yourself, blame others or give excuses for your inefficiency. Accepting mistakes is a sign of a true professional. Though listening to someone list out your weaknesses is not an easy task, maintain your cool and accept them honestly. Take notes of your weaknesses and get clarification on how you can overcome them. It will leave a positive impression on your boss and assure him that you are willing to learn and improve.
Gauge expectations and act smart
It is crucial to comprehend your boss’s feedback and gauge his expectations from you. Discuss and find out what it takes to fulfil your boss’ expectations. If you feel that the review is turning completely against you, just ask your boss about your strengths. It will not only remind him of the good work you have done but will also give you a small shot of self-confidence during those difficult hours.
Being calm and composed during the review does not mean agreeing with everything. Acknowledge the parts where you feel you didn’t perform and counter your manager politely where you feel he is being illogical.
Evaluate yourself and develop a strategy
Once the review is over, do a self-evaluation. Be honest and realistic while assessing yourself and think of areas where you could actually improve. Develop a short-term plan/strategy to translate your self-evaluation into action. Also, keep taking timely feedback from your seniors to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
A lot of times it happens that someone who may have joined after you is moving up the hierarchy ladder faster despite your consistent performance and loyalty to the organization. Instead of despairing over this, try to find out the skill sets that you may require to move to the next level. You can refer to the various job search and e-learning portals to recognise the emerging skill sets in your industry and upskill yourself accordingly. As the job industry has now become highly volatile and is changing rapidly, professionals will have to constantly upskill themselves to fuel their professional growth and ensure better appraisals every year.
Performance reviews are an annual affair which employees should identify as an opportunity and not find it dreadful. A negative review and bad appraisal surely leaves you disappointed but does not indicate failure, provided you know how to react.
The author is the CEO of Shine.com